Music Therapy for Cognitive Impairments


Posted by Kia Crawford on April 11th, 2012 in Education, Fayetteville, GA, Mind, Research, Spirit | No Comments

We’ve all heard a song we’ve recognized from years past that has triggered some type of emotion or memory. Many of us have used music in way that could be considered therapeutic. However, did you know music therapy is actually used in healthcare for people with many disorders and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments?

Engaging the memory impaired through music has been studied extensively in the last few years. Many studies have shown older adults making significant strides while participating in this type of therapy. I’ve written before on the benefits of music therapy for seniors with cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s. The therapy is truly remarkable, and so is the video below about Henry. Henry,  a resident at a nursing home, had been virtually incoherent and minimally unresponsive for 10 years due to the affects of Alzheimer’s disease on his brain. However,  when staff members would place headphones on his ears that was connected to a iPod playing his favorite musician, Cab Callaway,  his cognitive senses were awakened. His love for music was resurrected, and the melodies coursed through his mind, arms, legs and feet wholly igniting his spirit.  Henry was instantly transformed.  We have been working on a new initiative at Dogwood Forest called “5 Sense  Therapy.” This is the brain child of Cecily Curl, who is a young woman of faith and wisdom beyond her years.  She understands that a resident is not “lost” simply because they have Alzheimer’s disease. They are still there just waiting to be engaged.

This video is proof of just how beneficial music can be to someone living with Alzheimer’s disease. We believe in music therapy for seniors here at Dogwood Forest Assisted Living in Fayetteville, Ga. Check out the video below to see why.

Using Music to Engage the Mind

Music Therapy is considered alternative health care in the geriatric field. Music therapist work to improve an individual’s health in areas of kinesiology, cognitive function, behavior, mental health and disorders by stimulating the mind and spirit through emotion. Through this therapy, music is used in a variety of ways including singing; clapping; listening; moving to music (dancing); and free improvisation. Some of our residents at Dogwood Forest Assisted Living in Fayetteville, Ga. participate in a music therapy program. Residents in both of our assisted living and inspirations neighborhoods at our assisted living in Fayetteville, Ga. as well as Dogwood’s across Atlanta, have engaged in music therapy for cognitive needs and occupational and physical rehabilitation.

Music Therapy is unique because it is considered both an art and science. There are qualitative and quantitative data to measure outcomes. This therapy involves several fields such as musicology, music therapy, and clinical therapies. Music therapy can be prescribed by a physician, psychiatrist, or recommended by a psychologists, physical therapists, or occupational therapists.

Benefits of Music Therapy

  • Improved awareness and concentration
  • Improved memory and recollection
  • Happier outlook on life
  • Increases mobility and coordination
  • Diminishes pain and improves recovery time
  • Promotes relaxation and reduces stress
  • Enhances interest levels and social interaction